Coronavirus: Italy tightens socialization rules to deal with covid spikes

Elias Hubbard
October 19, 2020

"We can not lose time and we need to act by deploying all the measures necessary to avoid another general lockdown", Conte said at a press conference, detailing the new restrictions.

"We are aware of the economic damage caused by the measures we are taking, but the government is committed to returning them", said Conte in his statement.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti announced that a maximum of six people would be allowed to sit together in restaurants and bars, and that table service would be made compulsory after 6 p.m.

The prime minister added that Italy can not afford to contend with a new setback, as it would severely jeopardize the entire economy.

Italy registered 11,705 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the health ministry said, up from the previous record of 10,925 posted the day before, as the government prepares fresh measures to battle a second wave of the disease.

Conte also said that schools and universities will continue to stay open, but they will be encouraged to allow more distance learning. He also said that local mayors have been given the authority to close public squares and other gathering places after 9 p.m. if necessary.

Maintaining an obligation to wear protective masks both indoors and outdoors, except for isolated areas, the government urges an increase in remote working. In the Naples area, the regional governor has ordered all schools closed until the end of the month to slow escalating infections.

"The situation is critical".

A cabinet meeting hosted by Conte approved a 2021 budget in the early hours of Sunday which seeks to shore up the economy, focusing on the health sector, supporting families extending a moratorium on loan and mortgage payments.

As a part of a new 40 billion euros stimulus package the government approved in its 2021 budget, Rome will set up a 4 billion euro fund to compensate companies which have been worst hit by coronavirus restrictions.

Italy has forecast economic growth of 6 percent in 2021.

Italy's budget deficit now equates to 10.8% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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